Calling all hypebeasts: Put on your favorite Latrine hoodie, grab a tent, and get ready to camp out hen the gang returns to Amazon Prime Video for the second season of the adult animated comedy Fairfax. Created by Matthew Hausfater, Aaron Buchsbaum, and Teddy Riley, Fairfax highlights the exclusive world of streetwear culture in Los Angeles through the eyes of four middle school teenagers: Dale (Skyler Gisondo), Derica (Kiersey Clemons), Benny (Peter S. Kim), and Truman (Jaboukie Young-White).
Part satire and part middle school comedy, Fairfax pokes fun at resale culture while also showing a genuine appreciation for the creativity and ingenuity of young people in a world of hypebeast fashion (The term refers to a person who lies and breathes fashion and gets most expensive, most “hyped” streetwear). The three creators behind Fairfax spoke with about season two’s creative direction, the challenges of understanding middle school culture, their relationship to streetwear, and how they convinced Guy Fieri to voice himself.
Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
: Congrats on the show. How has the response been since the end of season 1 as we head into season 2?
Teddy Riley: It’s been awesome. Just a total whirlwind and dream come true. You know, it’s crazy to spend years and years working on something kind of in a cave. And then, you throw it up on the wall and let people come and see it. The people that have responded and love the show, it’s been awesome to see them totally get what we were going for, connect with the heart and the humor, and it was just great to see. It’s crazy. We saw fan art that somebody drew somewhere in Africa. How often do you get to see fan art that somebody made from across the world? It’s a pretty awesome feeling.
Matthew Hausfather: I also like being in an elevator with someone, and this actually happened last week, and they were like, “Oh, cool shoes.” I was wearing Nike Dunks, and I was like, “Oh, thanks. Yeah, they’re my Dunks.” And he basically implied that he was a sneakerhead and I was like, “Oh, have you seen that show, Fairfax?” I love to play dumb, and then I’m just like an average dude. He was like, “Yeah, it’s really good.” I was like, “Thanks, dude.” Then he looked at me, and the elevator closed [laughter]. I don’t know why I instinctually thanked him, but it’s been really nice to hear from people that they are connecting with the show everywhere, from Africa to the elevator at my mom’s condo in Westwood. So it’s been really nice.
What were some of the challenges you faced heading into season 2, knowing you have to up the ante and create more conflict and challenges for these characters?
Aaron Buchsbaum: I don’t think we ever really saw it as a challenge as much as it was like …
housefather: … Don’t suck.
boxwood: No. I mean a little bit of don’t suck [laughter]. In general, second seasons are just a great opportunity to finally explore the characters and the relationships you haven’t had a chance to explore. You spend so much time in season 1 establishing the core characters, the world, and the main relationship between those four characters that you don’t really get to play with any of them as much as you want to. In season 2, in episode 5 specifically, we spend more time with characters outside of our main four than we do with our main four. And we love that.
We have all these fantastic actors that are playing kind of like guest star roles. This was the opportunity to be like, “Hey, let’s run with it. Let’s dive into these characters. Let’s make them more three-dimensional. Let’s really just see what makes them tick.” You know, examples like Larry Owens. Larry Owens has this incredible voice. In season 1, we never got a chance to have him sing. In season 2, we were like, “we need to share his voice with the world,” and we finally got to do that. So that was a ton of fun.
How did you get Guy Fieri to voice himself in season 2?
housefather: I think we wrote him a letter, right?
Riley: We like to say that we’re incredible letter writers. Whether it’s getting Lady Gaga or Childish Gambino to give us permission to use a song that they’d never given out to a television show before, or amazing celebrities like Dr. Phil and Guy. We reached out [to Guy]. We sent a letter to him and just kind of professed our love, which is 100% genuine, and said, “Dear Mayor of Flavortown.”
housefather: That’s what I was gonna say! Did it say, “Dear Mr. Mayor?”
Riley: “We’re shining the fucking Flavortown spotlight. It’s up, man. We need you!” And he answered the call and couldn’t have been better.
Are there any more white whales out there you want to write letters to?
boxwood: I mean we’re always writing letters.
Riley: Nicholas Cage.
boxwood: Nicolas Cage, very high up there. Tilda Swinton is somebody we’re always swinging for. [We’re] big Tilda Swinton fans.
housefather: Anybody that has a BAFTA. We’re really after that. We want to be a BAFTA fam.
In the first episode of the second season, Dale and Derica go into a restaurant to get a cup of coffee. The camera pans around, and it lands on these three girls. I said to myself, “Are those the Haim sisters?”
housefather: Yes, you are eagle-eyed. The answer is yes.
boxwood: Wow! Dude.
Riley: That’s exactly why we make those little Easter eggs. It’s awesome to hear people spot those.
I recently saw them in concert two weeks ago so they were fresh on my mind.
housefather: Look out for the Haim sisters. What a great spot.
I read that you guys call Fairfax a “love letter to kids today.” How are you able to have your pulse on what middle school kids are doing?
Riley: It’s tough. I mean Matt [Hausfater] is currently in the eighth grade, so that helps. He’s auditing a couple of classes at Hamilton.
housefather: I got a big humanities project due tomorrow actually.
Riley: We have an awesome team of writers who are all younger than us and more connected to what’s going on. Even the actors that are in the gang, while we’re recording, they’ll be like, “We’ll say it this way.” Everybody kind of gets to put their hands on the ball and make it their own and make it feel contemporary.
The other part is the challenge of forcing yourself to research something as if you were a fan. Whether it’s NFTs or anything that might on the surface seem dumb, I think as soon as we start to feel that way is when we know we’re getting old. So the more we can kind of genuinely try to go, “OK, what is it about this that people like?”
We spend our money on Beanie Babies. We know how to buy dumb shit, so we’ve just got to figure out what this version is. That’s a fun part of the job, getting to kind of send each other articles and go like, “Dude, you will not believe what this fashion company is doing now. They’re wearing trash bags.” Episodes just kind of come out of real life really naturally like that.
Fairfax is like two shows in one. One show is about hypebeasts and streetwear culture while the other show is about 13-year-olds dealing with little moments that feel like life or death. How do you balance those two concepts to create one, cohesive show?
housefather: You know, Bob Dylan said, “I contain multitudes” [laughter]. No, I truly think we always said if you took all the hypebeast stuff and the references and clothes, at its core, it’s about four friends. Teddy and Aaron, when I started working with them, had this expression of “friends or best friends.” And I think that sort of set the tone for the show. That it can be sweet, it can be scathing and irreverent, and it can be poking fun at a culture.
But also, at its core is an ooey-gooey center. I think that’s because the three of us and everyone that put their heart and soul into this show knows what it feels like to be a new kid somewhere, or want to have friends, or have a first crush, or be on the varsity team, or any of these experiences that we all have. You can tell because everyone is sharing their experiences to make this show.
boxwood: The hypebeast world, in general, is wildly intimidating. When we walk into Supreme, we are scared to touch things. It’s not easy. Any of those stores on Fairfax, you know, it’s intimidating. So I think we try to imbue that approach into the show so that it’s more from our perspective, the person that maybe isn’t inside the world. I think it’s why Dale is such a successful character. Dale really is this fish out of water. He’s coming into the world and being introduced to all of it, and it’s all confusing and crazy and wild.
We always said the show should be relatable to the majority of the world because it’s coming from that perspective. It’s approaching all of these wild, crazy things, but from this perspective of like, “Holy shit. What? This is crazy wild. I’ve never seen this before.” The awe that we have, I think, we kind of imbue into the show.
It’s not easy being a kid today. We always talk about it. To be 12 or 13, you have to be your own brand. You have to be a marketing executive. You are managing your own social media sites. It’s just so daunting the amount of work that they have to put into defining who they are when, at 35 and 36 years old, we don’t know who the fuck we are! It’s a really interesting landscape today to kind of grow up [in].
Yes, the show is a satire of that culture, but it’s also a love letter to them [Gen Z] because we are in awe, and we are impressed. We say that these kids are most definitely getting face tattoos and eating Tide Pods and doing other crazy stuff. But they are also going to save the world without a doubt. They are doing the most incredible things you’ve ever seen. So it’s an interesting balance, but we are very much in awe of kids today.
When you guys were 13, what was big for you in streetwear culture?
housefather: Triple Five Soul was really big. I remember in high school, it was FUBU and Marc Ecko.
boxwood: Ecko was a big deal.
Riley: Bape, for me, was huge. I bought a Bape hoodie in high school that was way too expensive, and it was like a holy grail.
housefather: What happened to it, Teddy?
Riley: I sold it to somebody in college, actually, later on down the line. So the reselling culture was really always in my DNA.
boxwood: I had a great silvery-gray Sean John tracksuit, a velour tracksuit, that I spent all of my bar mitzvah money on. One time, someone told me I look stupid in it, and I literally never wore it after that. So that was a ton of fun.
Tracksuits are making a comeback these days.
boxwood: I bet. I wouldn’t be surprised if it still fits.
Between the crazy products that drop and the resale market, do you think hypebeast and streetwear culture gets a bad rap, or do you think a lot it’s deserved?
Riley: That’s kind of what the show is about, I guess. It’s asking that question. I don’t know if we’re the ones to necessarily answer it per se, but it’s a little bit of both.
housefather: I think for the kids that are waiting in line that genuinely have an affinity for the products, [we] totally thumbs-up support. It’s the 40-year-old guys like us that are knocking those kids out of the way to get 10 things to sell online. That’s where we’re like your heart’s not in this. You’re just going to make a quick buck. We have a character that is like that on the show, too. So we are celebrating and lampooning everybody equally.
Fairfax season 2 is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.